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Global Plastics Production Falls for First Time Since 2008

Pandemic effect.
by Agence France Presse
2 hours ago
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Global plastics production declined in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, only the third time since World War II that output has fallen, an industry body said Thursday.

Output has fallen only twice previously, as a result of the oil crisis in 1973 and during the financial crisis in 2008. 

Worldwide output slipped to 367 million tonnes last year from 368 million in 2019, a 0.3% decline, according to the industry federation PlasticsEurope.

The drop was due to "the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy", PlasticsEurope said in a statement.

But output in China -- which currently accounts for a third of global plastics production -- continued to grow by 1%.

In Europe, production of new plastics was down 5.1% at 55 million tons last year, PlasticsEurope said.

The automobile sector, one of the biggest customers for the industry, saw its plastics consumption plunge by 18%  in Europe in 2020, the federation calculated.

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The 27-nation EU now accounts for just 15% of worldwide plastics production, down from 21% in 2010.

The United States produces around 19% of the world's plastics, compared with 20% 10 years ago.

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